John Joseph Marchetta
September 8, 2022
We recently spoke with John Joseph Marchetta, a second-year Ph.D. Student in Physics. For John, Baylor was the right institution at which to pursue his research because it was difficult to find the kind of interesting physics work he wanted to do outside of Ivy League institutions. Baylor is able to provide him with the necessary resources and knowledgeable faculty he needs while also providing a community of scholars and colleagues unlike any other institution can. You can learn more about John and his research interests in loop quantum gravity, string theory, and classical black holes by reading our interview with him below.
What opportunities or implications stem from your research?
A greater understanding of the fundamental nature of reality can lead to greater paradigm shifts within physics.
What research excites you right now?
Understanding how to combine the laws of quantum mechanics with general relativity (i.e., gravity). Studying the tension in doing this reveals both insights as well as an incomplete understanding of the nature of quantum mechanics and general relativity. One area in which unification is helpful is during the era very close to the big bang, when quantum effects of the gravitational field become dominant throughout the entire universe. Loop quantum gravity predicts that the big bang gets replaced by a big bounce and this affects the earliest motion of matter, which we are currently detecting (as well as feeling every single moment) called the cosmic microwave background. With upcoming precision testing of the cosmic microwave background, we can determine whether the predictions of loop quantum cosmology are correct, thus indicating loop quantum gravity as a very strong argument for solving the problem of quantum gravity. Because of this, loop quantum cosmology research excites me now and I am currently developing the mathematical techniques to analytically study how the earliest motion of the particles evolve and the fingerprint it leaves on the cosmic microwave background. I am also excited to then apply this technique to study the radiation coming from black holes.
How does Baylor help you achieve your research?
Baylor has given me the privilege of having two advisors, one doing loop quantum gravity and the other doing string theory. Both of them are extremely supportive and are willing to make multiple times a week to meet with me to discuss physics or ways in which I can advance my career. My string theory advisor especially encourages me to spread my wings and to look into other theories of quantum gravity.